Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manuscript Editing

A recurring question in class revolves around the desire to have some editing help with the manuscript. Although a bit beyond what is discussed in our Self Publishing and Sell Your Book course, I set about looking at the question. Here is what I would suggest.

1. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the grammar checker in your word processing program. Daniel Kies provides a comparison of the programs in his article, Evaluating Grammar Checkers.

2. Join a writers group such as the Central Oregon Writers Guild. They can offer suggestions on small portions of a manuscript and there will be a professional editor who you may hire.

3. There are a number of online editing products for checking the manuscript. A popular one is EssayRater. There is a free rater that will look at citations, contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, style, and word choice. One will need to upgrade to a fee-based review to discover how to fix the problems. Its size limit is 20 pages.

4. A software program that resides on your computer is offered by WhiteSmoke. One can choose between different writing styles: general, business, creative, medical, and executive. It sells for $89.95 and can process one chapter at a time. It received endorsements for Yahoo, NBC, and CNN Business 2.0.

3 comments:

Kenneth Fenter said...

Hi Tom,
I took your class fall term. Tried White Smoke grammar checker. Ended up having to replace paragraphs throughout the manuscript. Spent a week recovering them. It seemed random. Couldn't determine a cause. Removed the software and contacted the company. No phone connection. Couldn't recover what I paid. Might pass it on to be cautious. Ken Fenter

My name is Tom McDannold said...

Ken: Thanks for the tip. This is the first I have heard about problems with the software. I apologize for steering you to the wrong place. I hope you hear from the company and can resolve the problem.

My name is Tom McDannold said...

Whitesmoke appears to have responded to Ken' problem by sending out an email giving various links that may be of help. The email can be found at http://www.box.net/shared/gkv94bbc9o